Category: For Patients

Third Dose of COVID Vaccine for Immunosuppressed Individuals

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

On Thursday, Aug. 12, the FDA reviewed and authorized an expansion of its emergency use authorization for the currently available mRNA COVID-19 vaccines produced by Pfizer and Moderna. This action is designed to allow immunosuppressed individuals to receive an extra dose of the vaccine.

We are closely monitoring these developments. Before we administer any additional doses of authorized vaccine, Duke experts will review all available safety and efficacy data to ensure the science supports its use. The CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice is meeting on Friday, Aug. 13, to review the data.

In anticipation of this expansion of emergency use authorization, we are preparing for Duke to participate in the equitable and efficient distribution of the additional dose to the immunosuppressed population. We expect to learn more during the upcoming CDC/ACIP review process about these patients, as well as specific guidance for administering an additional dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.

We are encouraged by the authorization of this additional dose to help us keep immunosuppressed patients safe and protected from COVID-19. Once the expansion is approved, we will notify all our team members, patients and the community of the qualifying criteria and how to schedule their additional dose of the vaccine. (UPDATE: The CDC has now issued criteria for those moderately to severely immunocompromised who are recommended for a third dose of the mRNA vaccine. See qualifying criteria link above.)

We hope this early information helps you understand how Duke is preparing for the distribution of the additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to the qualifying patient population once it is available. If you have questions, you can contact us at

Please continue to take every means to reduce the spread of infection and protect yourself, your loved ones and our Duke community. Get vaccinated, wear a mask, wash your hands, avoid crowded, poorly ventilated indoor spaces, stay at least six feet apart from others, and stay home and get tested when you are feeling ill. Thank you for all you are doing to keep yourself, your family and our community safe.


Kyle Cavanaugh
Vice President, Administration, Duke University

Carol Epling, MD, MSPH
Assistant Professor in Family Medicine and Community Health

Gail Shulby, RN, MA, CPPS
Chief of Staff to the Executive Vice President, Duke Health

Cameron R. Wolfe, MBBS (Hons), MPH, FIDSA
Associate Professor of Medicine, Infectious Diseases, Duke Health

Co-Leaders of the COVID-19 Vaccination Planning Work Group

Masking Protocol on Campus

Duke will be issuing updated protocols regarding masking on campus early next week based on new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Until then, the current requirement for all staff, faculty, students, and visitors to wear a mask while on Duke’s campus remains in effect.

Currently, masks are still required in outdoor campus settings where social distancing measures cannot be maintained and at all times in shared spaces indoors, regardless of vaccination status.

Thank you for your ongoing commitment to keeping the Duke community safe.

Sally Kornbluth,
Provost and Jo Rae Wright University Professor

Kyle Cavanaugh,
Vice President, Administration

This message is being sent to all students and University faculty and staff.

Duke Launches Assistance Funds for Those Impacted by COVID-19

$9 million pledged so far to support students, patient care and research, and our greater community

President Price announced three new funds set up to help those impacted by COVID-19

The Duke Student Assistance Fund will benefit undergraduate, graduate and professional students in all schools and help alleviate the unexpected burden of student expenses such as airline tickets, temporary housing, food, lost summer employment, technology for online learning and more. 

The Duke Health COVID-19 Response Fund will be used to address the needs of Duke Health patients, caregivers and students impacted by the virus, to expand and accelerate the research underway to combat the virus, and to support emerging areas of greatest need during this pandemic.

The Duke-Durham Fund will provide assistance to area non-profits, small businesses, and community-based organizations to enable them to continue their vital work addressing the immediate needs of local residents and assist in the recovery and renewal of the city that we call home.

Read the full announcement here.

Patient Care Update from Duke Health

Dear Patient:

We understand you and your loved ones may be concerned about the spread of a novel coronavirus, now known as COVID-19. At Duke Health, your safety and well-being are our top priority, and we are taking every precaution to help keep you safe.

Before Coming to a Duke Hospital or Clinic

Call ahead before seeking care

The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to other respiratory illnesses like the flu, including:

  • fever
  • cough
  • shortness of breath

If you have these symptoms:

  • Mild symptoms can be treated at home.
  • If your symptoms worsen, call your doctor before going to any medical facility. Your doctor will let you know what to do next and if you need to be seen.
  • Schedule a virtual visit 24/7, through Duke Health Anywhere.

Visitor restrictions in place at all hospitals and clinics

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, we are:

  • limiting visitors to one person over the age of 12 for hospital visits and doctor’s appointments at clinic locations.
  • screening patients and visitors for symptoms of illness upon arrival
  • asking patients and their loved ones with symptoms related to COVID-19 to return home
  • providing information about what to do if you have symptoms to prevent the spread of illness
  • posting changes on these restrictions to
Family and friends are important members of your care team, and we know these restrictions may be difficult for you. We apologize and thank you for your understanding as we work together to keep all our patients and our team members safe.

COVID-19 Symptoms

COVID-19 is similar to other respiratory illnesses like the flu. Symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

You can help to protect yourself and your loved ones by
taking these simple steps:

Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least
20 seconds. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. You can find more tips on our website.

If you’re concerned that you’ve been exposed or have a
general question about COVID-19 please call:

North Carolina COVID-19 Hotline:
24 hours, seven days a week


Duke Health COVID-19 Hotline:
(919) 385-0429
8:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday to Friday

Together, we can reduce your risk of being exposed to the virus and help you and your family remain healthy and safe.

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